Veganism…the biggest buzzword of the 21st century? Once considered a fringe dietary pursuit, veganism has swiftly become one of the fastest-growing lifestyle movements in the UK. Veganism has exploded into the mainstream, dominating consumers and the marketplace at national and global levels. Boasting endless benefits for our health, the environment, and the economy, the number of Brits now choosing to adopt this lifestyle is soaring, with global numbers multiplying more than seven times in the last 10 years, and 1 in 8 Brits now identifying as veggie or vegan.
Whether you are on board with the movement or not, there is no denying that plant-based business is growing exponentially, with experts predicting that the trend will continue to flourish as vegan businesses keep receiving investments. The vegan movement is an emerging trend that should be demanding attention, with a projected value of £120bn within the next 10 years (a markup growth of 451%).
Thus, it is evident to see why so many brands are keen to capitalise on the booming vegan market. From big, established corporate food corporations, to budding start-ups, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, with brands becoming more and more innovative with their ventures.
Here we have compiled a selection of our favourite emerging, innovative ‘Vegan-Tech’ brands that are changing the game for 2022:
Hoxton Farms: Motivated by the Covid-19 pandemic, their disappointment in the existing ‘alternative’ meat market, and the shared fundamental belief that the global meat industry is simply broken and failing, friends Max Jamilly and Ed Steele co-founded ‘Hoxton Farms’, revolutionising the meat alternative market. Combining their expertise in cell biology and mathematical knowledge, Hoxton Farms utilizes cutting-edge Biotechnology to cultivate cruelty-free, sustainable, realistic meat substitute products. They have so far raised a whopping £2.7million seed round to fund their venture.
NotCo: Founded by biotechnologist Pablo Zamora and his cofounders Karim Pichara and Matias Muchnick, Chilean enterprise NotCo is redefining the FoodTech industry. They have developed their own AI Technology, named ‘Giuseppe’, to produce realistic plant-based alternatives to popular animal-derived food products. Combining AI Technology with molecular science, Giuseppe works by analysing the chemical, molecular and physical structure of animal-based foods, and then utilising a database of more than 7000 plant molecules to find the most similar plant derivative. NotCo’s expert chefs and sensory specialists are then responsible for utilising these plant ingredients and recreating popular animal-derived food products. They have secured a total of £196 million in 2021, giving them a total valuation of £1.2 billion since their launch in 2015.
The Vegan Kind: The Vegan Kind is a Glasgow-born e-commerce platform providing an abundance of vegan-friendly products ranging from vegan beauty bits, groceries, household products and more. The family-run business has managed to secure more than £3.5m in investment amid the plant-based boom, making them the biggest ever funding round for a vegan retailer in the UK, with investors continuing to pour funds into thriving plant-based businesses. They have recently upscaled to a 35,000 square ft warehouse, to keep up with ever-growing demand, having started as a subscription box service in 2013 from co-founders’ two-bedroom flat.
Allplants: Keen to improve the inclusivity of the vegan movement, Jonathon Petrides launched Allplants, an online platform and chef-to-customer service providing delicious meat and dairy free premade meals. The meal delivery start-up has nabbed £38 million in series B funding to serve up sustainable, and tasty plant-based heat-at-home meals to UK consumers. The deal has been touted as the biggest ever series B by a plant-based food company in Europe. Since launching in 2016 they have gone on to raise £16.1million in equity fundraisings across five different funds – including leading Felix capital, Octopus Ventures, and Seedrs.
The funds are to go towards the expansion of its plant-based kitchen based in Walthamstow London, to 6x its current size, along with a significant expansion of its team, with the start-up set to hire across the entire stack of the business, from additional culinary trained chefs to operations, marketing, and tech.
Tyme: With a similar business model to that of Allplants, fellow B Corp Tyme offers a range of ready-to-eat vegan meals through weekly subscription boxes. Having attended Founder’s six-month equity program in 2020, Thyme went on to secure its first round of equity in February of 2020, worth a generous £229k. In addition to this, they also run a vegan food delivery service boasting restaurant-quality menus, securing three rounds of equity funding so far worth £796k.
Grubby: Staffordshire-based start-up ‘Grubby’ provides a subscription service for plant-based recipe kits. Initially delivering to office pick-up points, set -up their eco bike delivery service during the pandemic and has since raised £1.15bn in equity funding – sourced from funds including Access EIS, and Crowdcube. In 2020 it was awarded a £92k grant from ‘Innovate UK’, to develop the world’s first recipe kit vending machine for public spaces.
With the vegan movement continuing to grow, we can see it becoming a prominent contributor and asset to the UK market and economy. It is not just the food industry that will be impacted – with food shaping our job markets, economy, our cultural identities, and our daily lives. Thus, we should expect to see the transition to and dominance of the plant-based movement, along with the emergence and evolution of VeganTech, to reshape and redefine our national and global economies, job markets, and our everyday lives.